Creating Space in the Body

The first time I tried Yoga was back in college about 3 years ago when I took it as my physical education subject. It wasn’t so interesting back then because I didn’t feel the need for the purpose that Yoga brought. I guess the changes in my life and the new activities I have taken now makes Yoga more fascinating to me.

One late lunch, I found myself chatting with an officemate who told me about his Yoga experience in Beyond Yoga. What really struck me was when he mentioned laughter Yoga. It then made me realize that there are many types of Yoga that I can try and maybe a few of them would suit my needs.

I followed his advice and my mom and I have been going to the community class for two sessions and we’re coming back for more. Check out the advocacy of Yoga For Life where they hold community classes in Beyond Yoga, Westgate.

When I was in college, I was able to grasp the idea of the breathing synchronization with the poses in Ashtanga Yoga. When my mom and I started taking class in Beyond Yoga, my mind opened up to the different types of Yoga. So far, I have experienced, Yin Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, some chanting and Pranayama or breathing.

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YIN YOGA – I understood Yin Yoga as a type of practice where the focus is on the lengthening of the joints or connective tissues meant to complement muscle-forming yoga. The practice is primarily focused on strengthening the body. It’s a quite and meditative type that is also called, Taoist Yoga. It allows gravity to do its work as you prolong your stay in a position.

The pictures you are seeing at the left and below are just some of the poses we tried in my first community class. It was really nice to experience the connective tissues lengthening with the poses that we were made to do. It was also my first time to experience using cork boxes to fill in gaps in poses that are not meant to hang in the air.

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ASHTANGA YOGA – I tried a full Ashtanga class in college and experienced a bit of it just yesterday in the community class. It consists of strenuous pose sequences that are rapidly flowing from one to the next, synchronized with the right inhaling and exhaling.

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The pose above is my ultimate goal aside from doing a head stand. I’ve always had a poor back strength and I’d like to believe that I can conquer it again just like I did in ballet in the past.

UJJAYI – Since our session yesterday was a combination of different pracitices, we were fortunate enough to experience some chanting. We repeated chanted, “Om Namah Shivaaya,” which actually meant, “I bow to Lord Shiva, the peaceful one who is the embodiment of all that is caused by the universe.” I didn’t really chant it while praising Shiva. I chanted it because I was told in class that the act of repeating a phrase helps relax the mind. It was a wonderful experience!

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PRANAYAMA – We were made to try Paranayama breathing yesterday where you take in long deep breaths then you exhale while constricting your throat, creating the sound of ocean waves. It allowed us deeper and longer breaths that actually felt great!

The photo on the left shows a person’s hand controlling the breathing through the nostrils. It’s very relaxing alternating the breathing (inhale left, exhale right, inhale right, exhale left, inhale left, etc.). Some say this comes useful when stuck in gruesome traffic.

After taking just 2 classes, I have realized how far gone my strength and flexibility has left me. I am glad that I took this opportunity to try it again because I am inspired to strengthen my body. I’m actually thinking of taking a dance class. I really miss dancing.

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About Mariel Tan

Artist at heart who shares the spice in her life. Visit my blogs:


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